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Mansfield City Schools no longer in fiscal emergency

Mansfield City Schools emerged from fiscal emergency on Tuesday, three years and three days after the state began oversight of district finances.

Auditor of State Dave Yost talks with Superintendent Brian Garverick and Treasurer Robert Kuehnle after the district was released from fiscal emergency.

   Mansfield City Schools emerged from fiscal emergency on Tuesday, three years and three days after the state began oversight of district finances.

   Auditor of State Dave Yost officially released the district during a joint meeting of the board of education and the state-created Financial Planning and Supervision Commission.

   Superintendent Brian Garverick described the occasion as “a great day for the Mansfield community.”

   “Balanced budgets are a beautiful thing,” Yost said. “Who would have thought we would be here only three years after fiscal emergency was declared? Congratulations.”

   Yost placed Mansfield City Schools in fiscal emergency on Dec. 17, 2013, after the board of education “reluctantly” requested that action, citing a looming deficit of nearly $4 million after voters rejected a renewal levy in November 2012.

   District administrators, the board and the Financial Planning and Supervision Commission developed a financial recovery plan that required the initial layoffs of 148 employees and the closing of Newman Elementary School.

   Nita Hendryx of Yost’s staff said the district had met all criteria for termination of fiscal emergency, including submission of a “nonadverse” five-year financial forecast.

   Treasurer Robert Kuehnle has said district finances will remain solid throughout the five-year period if voters approve two renewal levies – which would not increase taxes. Without the renewals a deficit situation will occur by fiscal year 2019. During Tuesday’s meeting the board of education adopted resolutions to place the two levies – one would raise $4 million annually, the other $3.9 million – on the May 2 ballot.

   Yost urged the board to keep the five-year forecast at hand and follow Kuehnle’s financial reports at each meeting.

   “This forecast is your early-warning system,” he said. “Watch these numbers as you go. Continue to show the discipline and courage that you have the last three years.”

Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2016